From a young age, Author Jeffrey L Kohanek felt driven by an internal desire to create. With an early love for heroes with superpowers, he found his childhood-self creating his own comic books. When he finally decided to write his own epic fantasy series, it was with the desire to instill that same sense of wonder in his readers. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.
My name is Jeffrey L. Kohanek. I grew up in frigid Minnesota and moved to sunny Southern California fourteen years ago, where I currently live. I am married, and I have two children who are both in college. Among my favorite activities are: hiking, traveling, reading, spending time with my family, and playing the occasional video game.
When and why did you begin writing?
Like many others, I took the responsible route in college and graduated with an engineering degree rather than one in creative writing, although I loved it. When my children neared the end of their high school careers, I found time in my schedule that had previously been filled with their activities. That was when I decided to resurrect my passion for creative writing. Four years later, I have four published novels with two more releasing this year. I love being an author, and I intend to keep writing for many years.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I guess the moment came when I was offered a contract for my first book. It was published by a mid-sized press, and I have since reclaimed the rights and self-published the same book. However, the validation that someone else saw value in my writing flipped a switch inside my head and made it all seem so much more real.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
I currently have four books published, all set in the fantasy world of Issalia. A Warden’s Purpose, the first book of a new series set in the same world. Set seventeen years after a major war that destroyed half of the continent, the story is told through the eyes of a brother and sister. Here is a synopsis:
Two schools: One of magic and science, the other about military excellence.
A dangerous undercurrent flows within both…dark and deadly.
Everson is brilliant, ingenious, and broken. Cursed with a disability, he dreams of nothing more than being useful. Quinn is bold, defiant, and will do anything to protect her brother. When Everson is accepted to an academy of magic and engineering, Quinn enters a school of combat in order to join him in Fallbrandt. However, things within the fabled institutions are not what they seem. Beneath a mantra of good intentions and the objective of a better future, conspiracies lurk.
Quinn finds herself embroiled in a struggle she doesn’t understand, one that has dire consequences as her training shifts from difficult to deadly. Her relentless determination and will to survive might be enough if she only knew whom she could trust.
Within the other school, Everson learns about a dangerous power known as Chaos. Unable to wield this magic, he instead focuses his efforts of melding Chaos with science, dreaming of inventions that would shape the future. Perceptive, imaginative, and curious, his endeavors lead him to a revelation that could change the world…and then he discovers the truth.
What inspired you to write this book?
When I finished the Runes of Issalia trilogy, I felt that there were many more stories within the world I had created and characters that I had yet to explore. Everson and Quinn drive the story. I feel like they demanded it be told and I was merely a conduit to making that happen.
Do you have a specific writing style?
My prose tends more toward action and emotion, with tight worldbuilding and a limited narrative rather than trying to astound the reader with poetic verse. This keeps the pacing up and has worked well for me.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
A Warden’s Purpose is the first book in the Wardens of Issalia series. The title itself came through the book and was not set until I was almost finished with the first draft. In the end, the people who are recruited to be a Warden must have a purpose that drives them, something that makes them who they are while also suiting the overarching needs of the Wardens.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Inclusion. Many of my books feature inclusion or prejudice as an overarching theme. In this case, Everson’s disability may limit him physically, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a whole person or that he cannot be useful.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?
I always include some personal experiences in my stories, but Everson’s tale is fully original, as is Quinn’s.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
In the early years, David Eddings and Raymond E. Feist were significant influences on me. More recently, Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss are two who authors whom I admire.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
I would love to have Brandon Sanderson as a mentor. His BYU 318R courses on Youtube show how well he can break down a story in an analytical way and his support would be very helpful.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
J. Caleb designed my cover. I chose him because I am attracted to his style. He did a wonderful job taking my guidance and bringing images of Everson and Quinn to life.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I have three bits of advice to other writers:
1. Write. The more you do it, the better you get.
2. Editors are important and you MUST have someone qualified edit your work and make it the best it can be.
3. Lastly, share your writing. Authors are often afraid to do so, fearing that their work isn’t good enough. Don’t worry about that. If you’ve written a book, get it in front of other people for them to experience and to provide feedback. Not everyone will love it, but that’s fine.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love, love, love my readers. I enjoy hearing your feedback and I read every review about my books. The positive reviews give me an emotional boost and feed my muse. The critical ones help make me a better writer. Also, don’t be afraid to email me.
Jeffrey L. Kohanek
Huntington Beach, CA
A Warden’s Purpose
Cover Artist: J. Caleb
Publisher: Fallbrandt Press